Only one in 16 top management positions are held by people from ethnic minority background the charity said
A BUSINESS charity has launched the largest workplace survey of its kind in a bid to tackle racial bias in the UK.
Business in the Community wants to hear from 10,000 ethnic minority and white employees to understand their experiences of race at work in Britain.
The survey, launched on Monday (27), seeks to understand discrimination within the private and public sectors in areas which include recruitment, progression and engagement.
The business-led charity, which engages with over 800 organisations from small enterprises to global corporations to help tackle some of the key issues facing society, says ethnic minorities are “under-represented at every level of work”.
Only one in 16 top management positions are held by people from ethnic minority background it said, even though around 13 per cent of the population is from a minority background,
The charity also added that ethnic minorities are also less likely to succeed in recruitment and less likely to be rated as top performers compared to white peers.
Sandra Kerr OBE, race equality director, Business in the Community said: “The reality is that the UK has a diverse population. By 2051, one in five of the population will be from an ethnic minority background. Evidence gathered to date shows that underlying cultures and processes may contribute to ethnic minorities not being treated equally in work.
“We want to hear the reality of race at work for today’s employees. The collective voice of 10,000 people sharing their experiences will mean we can move away from debate, straight into action.”
To launch the survey, Business in the Community examined the global results of an online test designed to help individuals understand their unconscious racial bias. The data reflects 2.5 million participants across the US, the UK and 17 European nations and found that people aged 18-24 show stronger race bias than any other age group, globally.
Analysis of why people take the racial bias test suggests that individuals in the UK want to understand racial bias more than any other diversity issue and are driven to do so by factors such as news and media rather than their employer.
To see young people having more unconscious racial bias has “come as a surprise”, says Kerr.
She said: “It busts the myth that we can wait for the next generation to solve inequality. It’s interesting to see that people in the UK have a natural curiosity about race. This means there is a huge untapped opportunity for employers to start having conversations with employees about it. Workplaces and society needs to change now, and change fast, so we can plan for the future we want.”
The survey will be available online until September 13 and its findings will be released in November 2015. For more information go to www.raceatwork.org.uk